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Video shows Russian rocket launchers destroyed by HIMARS strike


A new clip has surfaced online appearing to show Russian rocket launchers being taken out by U.S.-supplied Ukrainian HIMARS.

A Ukrainian air reconnaissance unit, going by the name “Kraken,” had detected the multiple launch rocket systems and disabled two of the self-propelled systems with HIMARS fire, the unit said in a post to social media on Wednesday.

Russian forces “lost personnel,” the unit added, although how many troops were killed in the strike was not specified. Newsweek could not independently verify the location or timing of this footage, and has reached out to the Russian and Ukrainian defense ministries for comment via email.

It appears Kyiv has increased its efforts to retake territory in southern Ukraine after the long-awaited counteroffensive’s slow start. On Wednesday, Russia’s Defense Ministry said Ukraine had launched “intensive” offensive operations and a “massive attack” in western Zaporizhzhia.

A M142 HIMARS launches a rocket on the Bakhmut direction on May 18, 2023 in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine. A new clip has surfaced online appearing to show a Russian rocket launcher being taken out by Ukrainian HIMARS.
Serhii Mykhalchuk/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images

Ukrainian forces deployed three tank battalions, the Russian government said. Ukraine did not specifically mention a concerted push in western Zaporizhzhia during its operational update on Thursday morning, but reported heavy fighting on the front lines towards the region’s cities, Melitopol and Berdiansk.

The Russian multiple launch rocket systems in this footage appear to be BM-21 Grads, truck-mounted 122mm systems that have been in use since the 1960s. It entered service with the Soviet military in 1963, according to military The BM-21 is operated by a three-person crew, and has a maximum range of 40 kilometers, or 25 miles, according to Russian state military exporter, Rosoboronexport.

As of Thursday, Russian forces in Ukraine have lost 158 Grad multiple rocket launchers, according to a tally published by Dutch open-source intelligence outlet, Oryx. The true figure is likely higher, as this only includes visually verified losses.

Kyiv has previously shared dramatic footage of its strikes on Russian targets, including using HIMARS to target Moscow’s rocket launchers and howitzers.

Ukraine has been using HIMARS, or High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, since June 2022. The U.S. has supplied Ukraine with 38 HIMARS and ammunition to date, according to the U.S. Defense Department.

Kyiv continues to plug away with its counteroffensive in southern and eastern Ukraine, which is rapidly nearing the two-month mark. Outside of Zaporizhzhia, Kyiv’s fighters are carrying out offensive operations around the fiercely contested eastern Donetsk city of Bakhmut, Ukraine’s General Staff said on Thursday. In total, there were 28 combat clashes in the previous 24 hours, the General Staff said.

Russian forces attacked Ukraine with unmanned aerial vehicles and missiles overnight, the Ukrainian air force said in a statement posted to social media on Thursday morning. Eight Iranian-made Shahed drones targeted regions across Ukraine, the military said, and winged sea-launched Kalibr cruise missiles were launched at the southern port city of Odesa.

On Wednesday, Kyiv’s forces launched a “significant” counteroffensive operation, including deploying tanks, close to the city of Orikhiv, located to the southeast of the city of Zaporizhzhia, according to the U.S.-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW) think tank.

Ukrainian forces may have broken through some of Russia’s defenses to the south of Orikhiv, the think tank said in its latest update, although Moscow did push back Ukrainian fighters some of this distance. Kyiv has “rotated fresh forces” into the area, but Russia’s troops “remain pinned to the line apparently without rotation, relief, or significant reinforcement in this sector,” the ISW evaluated.


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